Stroke experts have a saying: Time is brain.
Maximizing those precious minutes is the idea behind Pennsylvania’s first mobile stroke unit, operated jointly by Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and Cetronia Ambulance Corps. The ambulance-like vehicle will bring equipment, stroke treatments and specially educated crew right to the patient, allowing care to begin immediately while transporting them to a stroke-certified facility like Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest’s Comprehensive Stroke Center — also the first of its kind in the state.
What’s on board
- Computed tomography (CT) imaging equipment to help neurologists visualize the type of stroke.
- Video and Telehealth technology to provide secure, real-time consultation with vascular neurologists at the Comprehensive Stroke Center.
- Medications for each type of stroke (clot-busting for ischemic strokes and blood-thickening for hemorrhagic) that can be administered en route.
The mobile stroke unit is stationed at Cetronia Ambulance headquarters in Allentown and can assess contraindications to medications and make treatment determinations normally made only after arrival at a hospital. The crew, both LVHN clinical staff and Cetronia EMTs and Paramedics, could rush such victims to the Comprehensive Stroke Center – where equipment and expertise to perform specialized endovascular procedures, such as catheter-based therapies to capture and remove brain-threatening blood clots, is available 24/7.